The HBO Max series The Sex Lives of College Girls follows four very different freshman girls as they tackle their first semester at the fictional Essex College in Vermont. All assigned to the same dorm, the girls eventually become friends who tell each other everything, yet at the same time, harbor major secrets from one another.
Ahead of the Season 2 premiere on Nov. 17, let's recap how Kimberly, Leighton, Bela, and Whitney's first semester went in Season 1.
Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet)
Probably the most innocent of the bunch, Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet) quickly gets herself into trouble. After she loses her virginity to her high school boyfriend early on in the semester, the girls convince her that she deserves better. That said, she dumps him and moves on to someone new: Leighton's hot brother Nico. For weeks they, sneak around and have lots and lots of sex behind Leighton's back. In fact, at one point Kimberly thinks she's addicted to sex.
During the semester, Kimberly also takes a job at a coffee shop on campus, as her family is tight on money. She starts out as an outstanding worker who is acing her classes. But her grades start to slip once her romance with Nico heats up.
On the verge of failing a class, Nico shows her the ultimate resource: a filing cabinet packed with past exams from almost any course, courtesy of his fraternity brothers.
Kimberly uses one of the old exams to cheat, but unfortunately gets caught and risks expulsion. Then, to make matters worse, she finds out Nico has a girlfriend.
In the Season 1 finale, Kimberly learns she isn't expelled, but she does lose her scholarship. Now, she's desperate to find a way to make enough money to afford tuition.
Leighton (Reneé Rapp)
It's no secret that Leighton (Reneé Rapp) comes from money. But it is a secret that this NYC girl is in the closet, and she's doing everything she can to maintain her preppy image.
After getting in trouble in Season 1 for vandalizing a statue on campus, she is sentenced to 100 hours of community service at the student-run women’s center.
At first, Leighton doesn't really fit in at the women's center, as many of the students who work there are grappling with identity and sexuality issues. However, as she spends more time with them, she realizes that she's more like them than she thought. She also gets close with Alicia, the head of the women's center.
Alicia becomes her first official girlfriend, but Leighton is left heartbroken at the end of Season 1 when Alicia dumps her.
Bela (Amrit Kaur)
Bela (Amrit Kaur) has dreams of becoming a comedy writer and vies to become a member of Essex's comedy publication, The Catullan. However, if you ask Bela's parents, she went to Essex to study to become a doctor!
Anyway, as both a female and a freshman, Bela is constantly overlooked by the very high-brow, male-heavy staff of The Catullan. In fact, she has to go to great lengths to get noticed — which includes giving some of the men on staff hand jobs.
After getting the chance to let her work speak for itself, she advances to the final round of submissions. Bela is confident she can snag a spot on the staff with her writing. But before writers are picked, one of the co-editors on staff tries to make her watch porn without her consent. She shuts it down and leaves, but worries that her walking out on him may have ruined her chances.
Fortunately, it doesn't and she makes staff. And with Leighton's help, Bela goes to the women's center and reports the student. Some members of The Catullan become upset with Bela for exposing him. In the finale, Bela quits The Catullan and decides to start her own female comedy publication.
Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott)
Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott), the daughter of a well-known U.S. senator, is a beast on the soccer field. Things get even hotter when she starts hooking up with her assistant coach, Dalton. But plot twist: Dalton is married. And even though he tells Whitney that his marriage is crumbling, she sees it differently after running into them together.
Dalton and Whitney split, but rumors of their scandalous affair start to spread among the team. Eventually, Whitney confesses and Dalton is fired.
Afraid that her teammates will lose all respect for her after she got their coach fired, she is pleasantly surprised to learn that they respected her for speaking up.
The best part? By the end of Season 1, Whitney starts hanging out with a potential age-appropriate romantic interest, Canaan, who works at the coffee shop with Kimberly.